January 31, 2008

A Tangerine Dream Collection

After Klaus Schulze left to do his own incredible solo work (post coming next week), Tangerine Dream spent 1971-1975 putting out their four best albums: Zeit, Atem, Phaedra, and Rubycon. Here's one track from each, because these songs are lo-o-ong. They're in consecutive order. When hearing this work, it's understandable that core member Edgar Froese started as a sculptor and apprenticed with Salvador Dali; it's wonderfully evocative, tactile and surreal. The Tangerine Dream that was to later make soundtracks for Risky Business and hundreds of other bad movies was a whole other deal (not worse, just different. I like their corny synthy stuff from the eighties as well).

January 30, 2008


1953 2005

January 29, 2008

RetroTech: The Scopitone

Built in France from spare aircraft parts after world war II, The Scopitone was a coin-operated jukebox that projected 16mm films. After catching on throughout Europe, they were distributed in the USA, and the first music videos were soon being shot exclusively for the format. The machines were most often found in bars, so the content was more risque than what could be found on television, and today serves as an archive of the fading burlesque era. But it never quite found success in the states. This was due to distribution problems with the mafia, and the campy films seemed dated as psychedelic culture became more commonplace. The machines disappeared by the end of the 60's. Listen here to a short NPR story about one of the last working Scopitone machines, here and here for a couple of my favorite films, here for a huge archive of shorts, and I can't help but repost this superlative film starring the Queen of the Scopitones, the talentless Joi Lansing:

Sounds From The Wheaton, Illinois, Breakin' Scene Circa 1983

In 1983, my cousins and I scoured the cold, unforgiving streets of suburban Wheaton, Illinois (median household income $73,385, 89.8% Caucasian) for discarded cardboard boxes until we had collected enough to convert the entire floor of their basement into a breakin' paradise. In the shadow of the Billy Graham Center and the DuPage County Republican Headquarters, we formed our own "crew." We had street names, we had our ghetto-blasters, we had the tunes, we mixed the tunes, and we choreographed dance routines. I distinctly recall having a routine for each of the following tracks. Yes, photo and video evidence of this phase in my life exists, but fortunately, none of it has managed to leak into the digital world.

January 28, 2008

Which Came First?

The Droste Effect
Named after the Dutch Droste company’s famous cocoa packaging in which “the nurse on the package carries a plate with a package, on which there is the same package, etc, etc..”
I was reminded of this when I saw these pictures of Shari Lewis.
Which is reality? Which is the illusion???

PIZZA TEEN! Readers Poll Results

QUESTION: Little Miss Muffet sat on...

  • Bebe's kids! 50%
  • Lyle Lovett. 30%
  • Lou Reed's mullet. 10%
  • my painting of Martin Sheen. 10%
  • the carcass. 0%
  • el chupacabra! 0%
  • the McDonald's Dollar Menu. 0%
  • the punky QB known as McMahon. 0%
  • a tuffet. 0%
Be sure to vote in the current poll!

10 Noteworthy Characters From The Call Of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game Archives

Dungeons & Dragons may be the most famous roleplaying game, but among my friends, Call Of Cthulhu-- an easy-to-learn horror game based upon the weird short stories of H.P. Lovecraft-- was the game of choice. What makes it special is that you portray an average dope with the best of intentions who finds his or her self coming face to face with mysteries and forces well beyond his or her comprehension and abilities. In most roleplaying games, you portray superhuman wizards or warriors; in Call of Cthulhu, you portray librarians and professors. An excellent credit rating is almost always more valuable to your survival than your ability to cut a guy in half with an axe. Rare indeed is the Call of Cthulhu character who, at the conclusion of two investigations into the unknown, is not insane, crippled or dead. A well-aimed rock or a whack to the back of the head with a flashlight can take a character out of the game in an instant, so players have to be extra cautious. It's this kind of realistic frailty which adds to the suspense. Here's a fun video review of the game. This is the original 72-minute "Terror Of Cthulhu" soundtrack, an ambient mix I created for our games which would play on repeat at a low volume in the background. Click here to download. And below are 10 characters from the days when we all lived near enough to one another and had time enough to play this game. Half of the characters are noted as either dead or insane. The most infamous of all is the last one, "Dacey." Surely, it is worthy of being framed. This is a character who, either through luck (unlikely) or an occasional dishonest die roll (likely), managed to survive four or more games and become a major pain in the ass while his ever-changing roster of companions dropped like flies. He also looks vaguely like Stexe. I was running the game, and although I was always fair, I admit that even I got to a point where I was rooting for his demise.

A PIZZA TEEN! WTF?! Photo Of The Day

People are so goddamn strange! Have we not already humiliated animals thoroughly enough? Look at the expression on the face of the terrier in the second photo. I know it's only a stuffed doo-dad manufactured by slaves in China, but nonetheless, it manages to provoke overwhelming despair and pity. Sooner or later, the 10 o'clock news will bring you the story of the psychotic mongoloid child who saw her psychotic mongoloid mom with one of these on her shoulder and decided to create one of her own by taking a hobby knife to the spine of the family's dachshund.

January 27, 2008

F'd Puppet of the Week 1/27/08

In yet another example of so-called children's' entertainment we see Bernie the Bear languishing away in a zoo. Poor Bernie has been ripped from his natural habitat only to suffer decades of degradation on a slab of icy concrete in cramped quarters behind steel bars. Your little ones can reenact his days of public torture with this puppet. It may as well come with a tiny sack of stale peanuts to pelt him with.

A Tubeway Army Collection

Gary Numan had a career arc similar to Devo's: after the first two albums, he lost his edge and started drifting towards the monotony of pop tunes. So these tracks are from those first two records and associated b-sides, except for a cut from a demo LP (called The Plan) and one later track from the Pleasure Principal album (which also contains that 'automobiles' song). Numan, a teenager, wrote the music/lyrics and played all instruments but bass and drums. I haven't figured out how to arrange a playlist, so these songs are scrambled in random order. And check out this video clip from his multimillion tour a couple years later when he was famous. The whole paleo-futurism of it is so rad. It's 2008. Shouldn't we all be living this way by now, gliding through the neon fog in our robo-wheelchairs, accompanied by the musical hum of amplified oscillators?

The Infamous Final Scene Of "Pink Flamingos"

Understandably, much has been made of the final scene of John Waters' Pink Flamingos. No matter how many times I see it, it still causes me to cringe. Still, there are other scenes in that film which I find more disturbing. For example...

  • When Raymond and Connie Marble's manservant is beating off into his hand so as to impregnate the women kept chained in the basement.
  • When the live chicken is getting crushed to death as Crackers and his date get it on.
  • The rectum "lip syncing" The Surfing Bird.
Here is the scene in question. And at the 5:00 mark in this interview, Divine discusses the filming of that scene.

January 26, 2008

Absurd Juxtaposition #0016 - VIDEO!

Play them simultaneously. You may wish to reduce the volume of the video on the right a bit.

The Concise Guide to Alfred E. Neuman

From a flexidisc stapled in a '63 issue of mad magazine, here's "it's a gas" credited to alfred himself:

The Concise Guide To The Cocteau Twins

A 14-track streaming "radio" show surveying selected tracks from the Cocteau Twins, "a group whose distinctly ethereal and gossamer sound virtually defined the enigmatic image of the record label 4AD."

January 25, 2008

The Concise Guide To The Lynch-Scape

A 21-track streaming "radio" show surveying selected tracks from the films of David Lynch. I'm giving the playlist feature of Divshare a trial run here. Enjoy.

A PIZZA TEEN! WTF?! Photo Of The Day

The Concise Guide To Yello

Here's another old, moody mix I created which has stood the test of time. "Hey, Lance, aren't these the guys who did that 'Oh Yeah' song from Ferris Bueller's Day Off?" Yes, they are, but no, you aren't going to hear it in this mix-- it's one of the those tracks like James Brown's "I Feel Good" which has been overplayed to the point of exhaustion. As before, you can play it right here or download the mp3 (by clicking on the divshare logo) if you choose. Sometimes the streaming feature of divshare works great, and other times it sucks. From Allmusic.com: "The ambitious Swiss electronic duo Yello comprised vocalist/conceptualist Dieter Meier-- a millionaire industrialist, professional gambler, and member of Switzerland's national golf team-- and composer/arranger Boris Blank." That's really all you need to know. Aside from Alice Cooper, how many other bands can boast that they have a golfer providing the vocals? Here are a couple of curious (if not obnoxious & pretentious) videos from their golden age. Lastly, separated at birth: Author Kurt Vonnegut and Yello vocalist Dieter Meier?

January 24, 2008

#1 Most Requested Song

Unless you're amish, you use itunes. So you probably already know that it keeps a tally of how many times you've played a song. I was on a camping trip a couple nights ago, flipping through my ipod, and I came across the "25 most played" list, arranged highest to lowest. I plugged it in and played it for a few friends around the campfire, and was shocked to realize it was a catalog of teenage girl bands: l'trimm, fannypack, j.j. fad, and the #1 most played track, "erase you" by ESG: This is embarrassing to admit. And yet, it's as if a huge weight has been lifted. I shouldn't be ashamed. But if you were to ask me what my all-time favorite song was, I would try to look cool, betray the ipod evidence, and say it was ennio morricone's theme from "exorcist 2":

January 23, 2008

Robot of The Week: Yumihiki Doji

circa 1850 Japan. Get a kit to build your own here.

The Classic Swedish Bookstore Scene From "Top Secret"

A rhetorical question before we proceed: what the fuck happened to Val Kilmer?! He was hilarious in this film and Real Genius. "Ice Man"? Madmartigan? Jim Morrison? Christ. Moving on. Here's the Swedish bookstore scene as it appears in the film: And here is the same scene stripped of its magic:

January 22, 2008

I Heart Hawkwind

I wrote Hawkwind off for a long time as a sissy hippie-jam band without even hearing them, mostly because of Neil's references to them on The Young Ones. But after learning they were formed out of elements from three of my favorite groups (The Pretty Things, Amon Duul 2, and Motorhead) I picked up a couple albums from their finest era, also captured here on film. I mean c'mon, don't you want to be a part of this scene? The gut-churning noise, the interpretive dancers, the liquid light show, the dystopian sci-fi sound effects... If these guys were around today, they'd kick Marilyn Manson's mall-rocking ass. And check out the young Lemmy on vocals - a couple years later, he was kicked out of the band for taking too many drugs (that's like the nazi party kicking someone out for being too german). Their catalog is huge, and much of it is redundant. And like KISS, their live albums are much better than their studio material. Try Space Ritual, a 2-disc concert recording from 1973.

The Concise Guide To Alan Wilder-Era Depeche Mode

I created this 63-minute mix a few years ago. I've had a couple of requests for it recently, so I'm just going to post it. You can play it right here or download the mp3 (by clicking on the divshare logo) if you choose. Sometimes the streaming feature of divshare works great, and other times it sucks. They tell me "they are working on it." When Vince Clarke ditched Depeche Mode after their first album Speak & Spell, the song writing duties fell on Martin Gore. They brought in a new guy named Alan Wilder to help out with programming and whatnot for the second album, A Broken Frame, but although Wilder contributed much to that album, his membership within the band was not officially recognized until the third album, Construction Time Again. When Wilder left the band more than a decade later, he still did not feel that he had been fully accepted as an equal partner. Some surmise that this attitude toward him resulted from a fear (particularly in the case of Martin Gore) of losing too much creative control to Wilder-- all three remaining bandmates have described Wilder as a much more accomplished musician than themselves. I'm a big fan of the mood and atmosphere Alan Wilder brought to many of the tracks during his time with Depeche Mode. Some will dismiss it as dark and depressing. If you listen to an album like Music For The Masses, it simply does not sound like anything else you've heard before. It has a quality which is organic, complex and timeless in comparison to the purely electronic sound the band employs today. Here are a pair of great videos of Alan demonstrating the gear he used at the time:

Four Times The Fun: Grandma Dance

Hit the "play" buttons in sequence. If you can get the rhythm just right, it's very, very satisfying. The videos may need to buffer first for maximum enjoyment. A tip of the hat goes to Safetybear for sending the link which inspired this post.

January 21, 2008

Absurd Juxtaposition Minus The Juxtaposition

I really wanted to make this the 16th Absurd Juxtaposition, but I couldn't find a 42-second long clip which didn't detract from the classic fucked-up-ness of this one. If you find one, by all means pass it along and I'll alter the post. But ultimately, this deserves a shrine all to itself. Agreed?

January 20, 2008

Five Paintings Of Creepy Children At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York

Robert Peckham (1785-1877) The Raymond Children, ca. 1838 oil on canvas
"A coach and sign painter and Congregationalist deacon, Peckham executed portraits with keen attention to detail. The interior settings of his pictures are careful delineations of his subjects' homes. Anne Elizabeth Raymond (b. 1832) and Joseph Estabrook Raymond (b.1834) are exquisitely dressed and surrounded by their toys and possessions in the parlor of their family's home in Royalston, Massachusetts." CREEP FACTOR: 6/10
Oliver Tarbell Eddy (1799-1868) The Alling Children, ca. 1839 oil on canvas
"Depicted here are the four oldest children of Stephen Ball Alling (1808-1861), a partner in the New Jersey jewelry firm of Alling, Hall, and Dodd, and Jane H. Weir (1811-1889). From left to right, they are, Stephen Ball (1835-1839), Mary Wilder (b. 1836), Cornelia Meigs (b. 1833), and Emma (b. 1831). The apparent ages of the children date the work to around 1839. The composition indicates that the portrait may have been painted shortly after Stephen's death that same year. His coloristic and spatial separation from his sisters, as well as the pool of light in which he stands support this conclusion. Post mortem portraits were common in the nineteenth century as families often desired likenesses of departed children. The artist painted a posthumous portrait of one of the cousins of the Alling children as well. Eddy's crisp, meticulous detail and vivid color temper somewhat his awkward anatomical drawing, all within a setting that is a document of early Victorian interiors. For group portraits like this one, the lack of interaction or integrated poses make it obvious that Eddy made separate studies of each sitter." CREEP FACTOR: 8.5/10
Joshua Johnson (active ca. 1796-1824) Edward and Sarah Rutter, ca. 1805 oil on canvas
"The first African-American painter with a recognized body of work, Johnson has long been thought to have been a slave who belonged to the Peale family of artists in Baltimore. In fact, Johnson was not a Peale protégé, but an independent artist, the free son of a white man and a black slave. In 1798 he advertised himself in a Baltimore newspaper as "a self-taught genius" who had "experienced many insuperable obstacles in the pursuit of his studies." Johnson learned a great deal about academic portraiture and developed his distinctive style. The air of stillness, of suspended action, in this portrait gives it an unreal, almost magical, quality." CREEP FACTOR: 9/10
Joseph Badger (1708-1765) James Badger, 1760 oil on canvas
"One of the least known colonial portraitists, Joseph Badger was the son of a tailor from Charlestown, near Boston. Although never as popular as his contemporaries, he studied their work and often used their portraits as models for his own pictures. Here, the pose is generally derived from Robert Feke's portrait of John Gerry (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston). James Badger, the artist's grandson, was three years old in 1760." CREEP FACTOR: 5/10
John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) Daniel Crommelin Verplanck, 1771 Oil on canvas
"Daniel Verplanck, scion of a distinguished New York City family, is shown here at the age of nine. In this picture Copley successfully uses, as he had previously, the theme of the young aristocratic figure amusing himself with a pet squirrel on a golden leash. While the squirrel clutches at his leg, the poised sitter keeps the viewer cooly in view. The picture is done in Copley's very best colonial style, remarkable for its keen perception and clarity." CREEP FACTOR: 8/10

F'd Puppet of the Week 1/20/08

January 19, 2008

PIZZA TEEN! Readers Poll Results

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Norah Jones Is Watching You

I go to buy some clothes. They're playing Norah Jones. I go to get some coffee. They're playing Norah Jones. I go to see the dentist. They're playing Norah Jones. I go to deposit my check. They're playing Norah Jones. They put me on hold when I call to get my internet connection fixed. They're playing Norah Jones. STOP! PLEASE! STOP! No offense, Norah, but the omnipresence of your inoffensive, retail-friendly arrangements are driving me UP THE FUCKIN' WALL!!!

January 18, 2008

"Bar Fight" By Christy Karacas And Stephen Warbrick

And here's Christy's other freaky animation, "Space War."

January 17, 2008

Chimpy Cheeta Update!

Gosh, that was fast! As you might remember from this post, the first painting I ever commissioned (from a human or otherwise) arrived in the mail just a moment ago. It has far exceeded my expectations. That monkey can paint!

January 16, 2008

January 15, 2008

R.I.P. - Vampira

Undead: dec. 21st, 1921. Dead: Jan. 10th, 2008. Read her obituary here.

January 13, 2008

A PIZZA TEEN! WTF?! Photo Of The Day

The laughs keep on rollin' out of Times Square! Hot on the heels of the hijinx two blocks away at Milford Plaza (here's a refresher), misfortune comes to roost on Bond 45 Restaurant's glorious blue neon. Do you suppose they provide cute, exquisite little cushions for you to rest it on while you suck down an overpriced rum & coke? I find it fitting that this post should be published on the same day as Umberto's latest puppet video. Yes, friends, dick humor rules the Sabbath here on PIZZA TEEN!

F'd Puppet of the Week 1/13/08

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... "The Erection Song"

January 10, 2008

On The Origin of PIZZA TEEN!

BEHOLD! PIZZA KING! A culinary institution in New Lenox, Illinois, since the dawn of time! Those two giant windows overlook historic Route 30, the main drag through the center of town. On Friday and Saturday nights, the owner parks one of his many muscle cars right out front and the pizza preparation counter is manned by a small army of cutesy High School girls with perky boobs all a'jiggle as they lovingly craft your triple-meat-triple-cheese artery cork. Among my friends, these girls became known as the "Pizza King Pizza Teens." As you drive past the place, your eye is initially drawn to the sex chariot, then it moves to the side-to-side, up-and-down motion of firm golden hoo-hoos straining against tight T-shirts beyond the window glass. It's like a G-rated peepshow. In time, we all began to refer to the place as simply "Pizza Teen." Now, the story technically ends with the above explanation, but there's a theory behind this as well. I believe that if you stuffed all American popular culture into a pot and left it on the stove to boil for several days, in the end, you would be left with only two words: "pizza" and "teen." I'm willing to admit that this is probably a sad over-rationalization on my part to make me feel a little better about owning such a stupid domain name, but it holds up and makes people laugh, so I'm sticking to it.

PIZZA TEEN! Readers Poll Results

QUESTION: Which 3 have had the greatest influence on your lame-ass band?

  • Ashford & Simpson 77%
  • The Spin Doctors 66%
  • Shaquille O'Neil 55%
  • The Interstitial Music Used On NPR 33%
  • Hee Haw 22%
  • The Annie Soundtrack 22%
  • Bobby McFerrin 11%
  • Mary Lou Retton 11%
  • Star Trek: Voyager 0%
  • The Stamps Quartet 0%
Be sure to vote in the current poll!

Lucky Strike Brand Cigarettes: Full-Bodied Flavor For Full-Bodied Greek Recluses

January 09, 2008

Cheeta: Hollywood Legend, Artist for Hire

This clip has it all: Bela Lugosi, the infamous Sammy Petrillo (yes, his career was terminated by Jerry Lewis), and Cheeta The Chimp. Cheeta is best known for starring in seven of the tarzan movies. After a lifetime of busting ass all over hollywood, he now lives in a sanctuary in Palm Springs. At the age of 75, he's the oldest (non-human) primate in the world. Make a $125 tax-deductable donation to his retirement, and you'll get a painting in return. Select the color palette, and Cheeta or his grandson (sorry, you can't choose) will custom paint something for you and sign it with a thumbprint. I donated to this worthy cause just a few minutes ago, and it should take a week or two for my painting to arrive in the mail. Update to follow soon.

A PIZZA TEEN! WTF?! Photo Of The Day

Milford Plaza, 700 8th Avenue, NY, NY. Act of God? Act of vandalism? Or desperate/brilliant marketing strategy? "Hotel Coral Essex?"

The Man-Machine

The career of Raymond Scott is too huge to tackle in one post (you can learn more starting here, as well as dozens of other websites). So I'll just stick with the Electronium, his most ambitious music machine and something that went beyond audio synthesis and into the realm of artificial intelligence. From raymondscott.com: the Electronium was "guided" by a complex series of buttons and switches, arranged in orderly rows. The system was capable of "instantaneous composition and performance" of polyphonic rhythmic structures, as well as tasking preset programs. With Scott controlling the sonorities, tempos, and timbres, he and his machine could compose, perform, and record all at once. The parts weren't multitracked; rather, voices, rhythms, and melodies originated simultaneously in real time. "A composer `asks` the Electronium to `suggest` an idea, theme, or motive," Scott wrote in the user manual. "To repeat it, but in a higher key, he pushes the appropriate button. Whatever the composer needs: faster, slower, a new rhythm design, a hold, a pause, a second theme, variation, an extension, elongation, diminution, counterpoint, a change of phrasing, an ornament, ad infinitum. It is capable of a seemingly inexhaustible palette of musical sounds and colors, rhythms, and harmonies. Whatever the composer requests, the Electronium accepts and acts out his directions. The Electronium adds to the composer's thoughts, and a duet relationship is set up." The Electronium is now owned by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, and sits (in a state of disrepair) in an office of his soundtrack company Mutato Musika, whose headquarters is a beautiful green U.F.O.-looking building on the sunset strip. I saw Mothersbaugh give a talk last night, and I went past the building this morning while a Raymond Scott tune randomly came up on my ipod, inspiring me to post this. Read about some of Scott's other musical inventions here.

January 07, 2008


Never heard of it before today, but it ran for 139 episodes starting in 1981, and was produced by the guy who invented "pong" and owned the chuck e. cheese pizza chain. I'm guessing it was syndicated and not picked up in the chicago market, because I surely would have known about this as a kid. The fact that slowcurl himself, mister tournament-level video master, hasn't blogged about it yet adds to the mystery. Am I mistaken? Was this on the air, and I missed the whole thing? Regardless, we now have the internet to fill these gaps from our past: See ten full-length episodes here.

January 06, 2008

January 03, 2008

Reverend St. John

After many years of dissatisfaction with organized religion-- specifically the ability to be ordained and continue to be a practicing rug-muncher-- I have treated myself to the basic ordination package at the Universal Life Church. They are the original fly-by-night outfit founded in the late fifties. It's the one all the stars go to. Yes, I will be among the ranks of people like Johnny Depp who have the legal power to marry people and park in a hospital zone. Check out the drop down box of "Titles" you can choose from for yourself when you buy the Complete Ministry Package. I wonder if my pastor at my "real" church will be offended??? Here's a link to the Universal Life Church.

PIZZA TEEN! Readers Poll Results

QUESTION: Please select 3 adjectives which describe your ideal New Year's Eve date.

  • Vinegary 54%
  • Flammable 45%
  • Sticky 45%
  • Bloated 36%
  • Toothy 18%
  • Grizzled 27%
  • Stumpy 27%
  • Mustardy 18%
  • Beady-Eyed 18%
  • Scaly 9%
Be sure to vote in the current poll!

Ugliest Toy in History?

"aired on local Chicago TV on Thursday, November 22nd 1979" according to the youtube poster. Being one of the two kids in my fifth grade class who had seen "Alien" in the theater, I absolutely lusted after this cuddly toy, designed by heroin-addicted occultist H.R. Giger. But I was too old for such things. I got a biology kit for christmas instead. Like the monster scenes models, these currently sell for hundreds on the auction block, and there are hobbyists who fabricate and sell parts to finish out incomplete figures. Check out the hissing little bastard in the opening scene... if my son did that, I'd take him in for rabies shots.

The Dark Knight 1966

With all the hype surrounding the new The Dark Knight movie, I thought this was a great take on it.

A PIZZA TEEN! Original: "A Scene From An Incomplete Film Starring Children"

A PIZZA TEEN! Original: "I'm going To Eat My Mexican Food"

January 02, 2008

Three Visions of Hell

Before we begin, let's turn down the volume on the video selections and set a more appropriate mood with some Coil: First up is "Dante's Inferno" from 1924. Shot on soundstages, this sequence involved 4,950 technicians, architects, artists, carpenters, stone masons and laborers, 250 electricians and 3,000 extras. Unavailable on video. For sheer delirium, it's hard to top this scene from "Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadaver" by Brazilian auteur Jose Mojica Marins. And of course, the insane "let's mess with peoples heads" ending from Disney's "The Black Hole". Just think what a great ride this could've been at Disneyland. Honorable mention goes to "Haxan" and Dio's "Last in Line" music video.